School board addresses class vandalism issue
Webster Area School had some unapproved displays during homecoming week. Superintendent Jim Block advised the school board at their meeting Oct. 8 that an unnamed student had asked him where he could paint for homecoming. Block stated he advised the student the hill at the football field was the only place that could be painted, nothing permanent.
The 2019 graffiti consisted of the football shed, Webster Theatre, SDSU I-Beam, current fire station next to the armory and the golf course parking lot where foul language was also displayed. Block explained that he was driving around town to see if there were any reasonable places for students to write and that is when he noticed the theatre had been tagged.
Board member Tom Sannes asked if there were any parking lots where they could allow students to tag and it was brought up that the city had just spent $5,000 on maintenance in the golf parking lot.
Two years ago when spray painting was done during homecoming, law enforcement dealt with it, not the school and parents were the ones who fixed it. Sannes mentioned giving the student council the chance to come up with consequences for the seniors.
Block advised there were policies and procedures in place. It was agreed that consequences were needed. Sannes recommended punishing the whole class. Board member Jamie Reetz did not like the idea of everyone being punished if this was just a couple kids. Reetz stated every class has done this and it’s become a tradition. Reetz added he didn’t want property destroyed. Board member Joel Shoemaker questioned if the seniors responsible in the class were to confess, would they be able to earn their privileges back. Sannes said he believed all senior privileges should be taken away but he was okay with a redemption option.
It was stated that law enforcement are checking surveillance where the spray paint was sold and that they are investigating the tagging. Block asked what are we going to do as a school to prevent this from continuing. He has told the students to do nothing illegal and no major vandalism. He doesn’t want their lives destroyed, referring to the students being told not to ride around in the back of pickups, which was done after the burning of the W homecoming night. Block also brought up the 16-year-old who was killed in Milbank recently.
Representing the school is important to Block. The name of the student who asked about where he/she could paint was given to the Webster Police Department. Block followed up that as a parent if you do something wrong there is a consequence.
Sannes said that nowhere does it say to allow them to break the law. Sannes stated this information is public and if people think it is too harsh then let them come to next month’s meeting.
Block showed a parking ticket he put together for students. The ticket contained license plate, student driver, date, infraction, offense, fine and date due.
Block expressed his disappointment in parking around the school advising students parking in boulevards, crosswalks, sidewalks, visitor parking, stating he would write tickets on his own.
Discussion about whether writing these tickets could be done and Block gave examples of SDSU and Northern doing it for parking at their schools.
Block doesn’t believe he should have to call the PD every time there is a car parked wrong. Elementary Principal Craig Case brought up that if they are doing it here they could do it at other schools.
The amount of what a ticket should be was discussed amongst the counsel, Block and Case. It depends on what the PD can write the ticket for.
Sannes agreed to enforce the standard but also brought up the idea of student council coming up with the standard. Sannes stated, “Let the students own it.”
No date has been set when the security doors will be installed but the parts are in. Block is hoping everything will be ready to go Oct. 19 at the school’s in-service. Safe and Secure is the company who put in the access and they have the supplies to get started but are waiting on House of Glass to install the doors.
Block discussed the door issues and the claims he has had to submit. Advising the doors are aluminum and have been the problem, screws pulled out of trim work and doors not latching on top or bottom.
Board member Joel Shoemaker wondered if steel doors shouldn’t be looked into. Block and Case said it seems to be just wear and tear and the foundation shifting.
In other news:
Liza Schoenbeck, a senior Girl Scout, attended the meeting to ask if she can go for her Gold Award by painting the map of the United States with famous landmarks on a school wall. School board members approved.
Snow removal bid was approved for Blake Torrence. Business manager Lori O’Farrell stated they have used the same person for the last two years and there have been no issues.
Approved the final reading of the policy for service dogs.
Approved two open enrollment applications.
The 11-year-old hot water heater was replaced at the armory. It was questioned if the size could be reduced due to the decrease in showers being used. Block stated Travis Sichmeller advised keeping the commercial size so they went with the 60 gallons with 480 gallons per hour recovery.
The next Webster Area School Board meeting is Nov. 15 at 7 a.m.
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